Kicking a Low Mood in the Teeth

This post starts off on a low-note, but stay with me. It gets better, I promise

Before I’d even opened my eyes this morning, it started:  an ache in my gut, an inexplicable dread. Fog in my brain. A heaviness settling over my whole body, making me as though I weigh 1000 pounds. The voices come next, nattering  at me: I can’t get it all done. I don’t even want to get any of it done. Am I never going to escape this?

I am half-asleep still, haven’t moved, my eyes are still closed. It’s what, 5 a.m.? And then the stories start, all the ugliest cycles of negative thinking. I’ll spare you the details but it basically ends with me being a bag lady.  

So I lay there for a while thinking, for God’s sakes, Can I please just SLEEP, like, forever maybe?

But I know this dance, and I know I have a choice. So, I get up and make coffee. I flick on my computer and read a favourite blog. My mood lightens slightly. I take my vitamins, eat a kiwi.  Put on a load of laundry. I do the legal work I need to do, and it turns out not to be half as bad as I thought. I just march, and somewhere along the line the voices stopped yelling at me.

Part-way through the afternoon, when I wasn’t feeling half bad, the voices reared up and threatened me again. I was teetering across a massive snowbank on my way into the post office, the clouds overhead filling my peripheral vision. The thought struck me that it was an overcast day.

It’s a grey day in an endless grey season. It’s oppressive. You probably have Seasonal Affective Disorder and are therefore sentenced to persistent gloom for the next three months. Maybe even every month except that one week in July.

I stopped mid-way across that snowbank and looked up at the sky, and remembering the words of a very wise woman, I very deliberately turned up the corners of my mouth. Yes, that’s right. I smiled, possibly the smile of a maniac. A smile that said fuck you clouds, you are not the boss of me!

And I kicked that mood in the teeth.

This is what I know. These moods pass. They used to last longer, back in the days when I didn’t know what to do, didn’t realize that I had choices. It used to be that a mood would descend – anxiety or depression – and I’d let it kick me around.  A scary thought would take hold and would build into a feature length nightmare that would seize me for days or weeks, lead me to do all sorts of stupid things, waste all kinds of time.  Precious, unrecoverable time.

Not any more.  The thoughts come. The moods do, too, and sometimes they stay around longer than others. But they don’t last. Nothing does.  And that’s something worth smiling about.

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